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Pensacola Beach homeowner group wants changes made to rentals

Pensacola Beach homeowner group wants changes made to rentals

A group of Pensacola Beach homeowners want to see something done about big crowds at rental properties

“Pensacola Beach Advocates” held a meeting on Thursday night at Pensacola Beach Community Church. The majority of the people who attended are homeowners on the island.

Some, like Liz Hewson, said they want to see a change. Hewson said this past spring break got out of hand, especially with the college crowd.

"For me personally, they were stealing lumber out of my yard,” Hewson said. “They were harassing my neighbors. They were parked on the street."

She said the problem is with rentals. Some homes on the island sleep up to 40 people They are used for spring break, weddings and other events. Hewson said it gets noisy, streets get crowded with parking and there is vandalism. Pensacola Beach Advocates President Terry Preston said it is like hotels are moving into residential neighborhoods.

"We have streets that are blocked which you could not get an emergency vehicle down right now,” Preston said. “We had people in spring break that literally walked in the middle of the street and would refuse to yield to anyone who wanted to come down the road."

She said their plan is to document the complaints to bring to Escambia County Commissioners and the Santa Rosa Island Authority. She would like to see Escambia County adopt rules that other beach communities have in place. She said other beach communities require rental properties to have an on-call manager who can be reached 24 hours a day if there is a problem.

"They have to enforce the rules and then they also have to make sure that the house is safe for the numbers of people who are staying in it," Preston said.

Hewson said she wants to co-exist with rental properties. She just wants to be respected at her home.

"This island is for everyone to enjoy,” Hewson said. “It is for those of us who are residents, it's for those of us who live in Gulf Breeze, Pensacola and most importantly it is for those of us who do not live here who want to experience the beauty and joy of this island."

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